By Charlie G ❘ 2012

Following with my series of posts dedicated to the people new to the diabetes world, this time I wanted to write about the most typical diabetes symptoms. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you are having one of these symptoms you have diabetes. But, specially if you are experiencing several of these symptoms at the same time, you could decide to visit your physician just to check.

If your doc does mention the word “diabetes” don’t panic (I know it’s easier said than done). I remember when I was told that I had diabetes. I didn’t know anything about it and was completely lost. Now, almost 14 years later and a lot of research and experimenting different treatments, I feel I know a lot about the topic and confident that I can control this diabetes.

I post all I know and experience here in this blog, so that people like you doesn’t need to spend so many years researching like I did.

Like I said, IF you have diabetes, don’t panic and come back regularly to learn different ways to control your diabetes, in some cases even reverse the need for medicines and keep living a healthy lifestyle.


Diabetes symptoms

There are 2 main types of diabetes namely Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Diabetes Insipidus (DI). When the word Diabetes is used as is, it generally refers to Diabetes Mellitus.

DM is a progressive metabolic syndrome in which either there is insufficient insulin production from the pancreas or the body is unable to respond to the insulin formed in the body.

Diabetes Mellitus is further subdivided into two types based on the etiology. In the Type1, the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas are either lost or unable to synthesize the required quantity of the hormone Insulin. In Type2, the body develops resistance against the insulin produced by the pancreas. In either of these two inefficiencies, the blood sugar level in the body rises giving rise to the condition referred to as ‘Hyperglycemia’.

glucometer with high blood sugarType 2 form of Diabetes Mellitus is more common than type 1. Moreover this type of diabetes progresses slowly over a long period of time and thus symptoms usually develop very gradually making it difficult to diagnose at a very early stage. The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes include positive family history of diabetes, overweight with excessive body fat around the waist, poor eating habits and low activity levels with lack of exercise.

The classic clinical triad of diabetes symptoms include polydipsia, polyphagia and polyuria which means increased thirst, increased hunger and repeated/frequent urination respectively. Due to increased urination, dehydration may develop.


Other symptoms which develop with diabetes are the following:

  1. Feeling of weakness and easy fatiguability.
  2. Unexplained weight loss despite increased hunger (specially type 1)
  3. Abdominal pain with nausea and vomiting.
  4. Swelling (edema) mainly over the feet and legs.
  5. Repeated infection of the bladder leading to burning sensation in the urine.
  6. Repeated infection of the skin causing pustules and abscess along with poor healing of these wounds.
  7. Repeated infection of the vagina leading to foul smelling whitish discharge.
  8. Dry and scaly skin with repeated and chronic itching.
  9. Feeling of dizziness with repeated headaches.
  10. Feeling of apprehensiveness/nervousness without any obvious reasons.
  11. Feeling excessively hot with cold intolerance.
  12. Palpitations with increase in heart rate.
  13. Eye problems – in advanced cases of untreated diabetes it may develop a condition called ‘diabetic retinopathy’ characterized by blurring or doubling of vision, flashing lights or dark spots in front of the eyes and pain in one or both the eyes.
  14. Tingling, numbness or burning in the hands or feet – this is mainly due to the effect of high glucose levels on the nerves, commonly called as ‘diabetic neuropathy’.
  15. Sexual problems like erectile dysfunction leading to impotency.

If the condition is not treated, the high glucose levels may also affect the kidney and lead to kidney failure, commonly called as ‘diabetic nephropathy’. It may then require dialysis or kidney transplant.
Also if the blood sugar levels reach to very high or very low limits, it may lead to a comatose condition.

Early diagnosis through blood sugar tests, oral glucose tolerance test or even the A1C test, if required, should be undertaken. If the treatment is started early on, it may avoid several of the complications that may come with diabetes.

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1 Comment on What are the symptoms of diabetes?

  1. Joseph Scott says:

    Yea I’d just like to know the diabetes causes shivering or “the chills”. I need the answer for an answer to a question for class, really appreciated if someone gave me a well detailed answer..